SHSU Update For Week Of Nov. 2



Lecture To Look At Income In Past, Today’s Economy

Associate professor of economics Mark Frank will discuss the evolution of income inequality in the United States over the past century on Friday (Nov. 7).

"A New State-Level Panel of Income Inequality Measures over the Period 1916-2005,” part of the Economics Brown Bag Seminar Series, will be held from 12:15-1:30 p.m. in Smith-Hutson Building Room 139.

“In the paper we show that income inequality among the states has displayed a distinct U-shaped pattern over the last century, peaking at the eve of the Great Depression and again today during the new millennium,” Frank said. “As the U.S. enters a new period of economic turmoil, one wonders to what degree the two events may be linked.”

Frank has taught in SHSU’s economics and international business department since 2000.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Dallas.

His research interests include the economics of alcohol advertising, income inequality and telecommunications regulation.

For more information, call the economics and international business department at 936.294.1265.


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Math Conference To Bring Professionals To Campus

Mathematics education professionals from across the state will visit the SHSU campus Thursday and Friday (Nov. 6-7) to discuss new research and collaboration opportunities.

The second annual Mathematics Education Research in Texas Conference will include sessions “designed as a forum to encourages high-quality mathematics education research, and facilitate the development of collaborative and mentoring relationships with colleagues from other institutions,” said Dustin Jones, assistant professor of mathematics education.

“In particular, there will be working sessions focusing on designing a study, cross-institutional collaboration and a writer's workshop,” he said.

Friday afternoon sessions, beginning at 1 p.m. in Lowman Student Center Room 304, will be open to anyone interested in mathematics education-related topics.

These include “Using Translated Instruments in Research” by Judy Beauford, from the University of the Incarnate Word; “Collaborative Projects in Statistics Education Research” by Alejandra Sorto, from Texas State University-San Marcos; and “New Faculty Mentoring: A Focus on Research” by Sue Brown, from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

This is the second year SHSU has hosted the MERiT conference, made possible by funds from the SHSU Graduate Studies Office and the Reeves Center for Mathematics Education housed in SHSU’s mathematics and statistics department.

For more information, visit the MERiT Web site or contact Dustin Jones, assistant professor of mathematics education, at 936.294.4776.


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Music To Bring In Guests Artists For Two Recitals

The School of Music will welcome two guest artists for performances beginning Monday (Nov. 3).

Allen Otte, from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, will join SHSU assistant professor of percussion John Lane on that day at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall.

The faculty percussion lecture/recital will feature two works that will be performed at the upcoming Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Austin, including "Abstracted Resonances: Native American Percussion Traditions in the Music of Peter Garland" and the duo’s “original collaborative work, ‘The Innocents.’”

“‘The Innocents’ is a performance art work that tells the story of several individuals who were wrongly convicted of crimes,” Lane said. “These individuals served time in prison—some up to 23 years—and were released through DNA evidence.”

On Wednesday (Nov. 5), SHSU alumnus and pianist Eliud Arrazate Nevarez will return to campus to perform works by Mozart, Chopin and several Mexican composers.

The guest piano artist recital will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall.

A native of Coahuila, Mexico, Nevarez earned both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from SHSU in 1988 and 1990, respectively. He also earned his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995.

Since then, he has performed all over Mexico and currently teaches as a Titular Professor at the Autonomous University of Coahuila.

Admission is free for both performances.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.


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SAM Center To Give Grad Test, Study Skills Tips

The Student Advising and Mentoring Center will give students who missed the beginning of their Study Skills Workshop Series the opportunity to catch up and will prepare other students for their graduate school exams with two events beginning Wednesday (Nov. 5).

The “Late Start” series will teach students to “study smart” through six one-hour sessions that focus on studying smart, procrastination, time management, reading textbooks and note taking, test taking strategies and stress management.

Sessions will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays through Oct. 29 in the SAM Center, located in Academic Building IV Room 210.

Space is limited, and students are encouraged to call or stop by the SAM Center to sign up.

On Friday and Saturday (Nov. 7-8), the center will cover the Graduate Record Exam and the Graduate Management Admission Test with a mini session at the University Center.

Friday night’s session, held from 6:30-8:30 p.m., will be led by SAM Center director of academic support programs Bernice Strauss, while Saturday’s sessions, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will be lead by assistant professor of mathematics education Mary Swarthout and English professor Paul Child.

“This is a test taking technique program, so the material will cover strategies for the math and English sections of the test,” said Candi Harris, SAM Center staff associate. “This is not a subject review so students are expected to cover at least 50 hours of individual study time before they take the actual test.

“Individual subject review combined with practice in test taking strategies will provide the student an opportunity to earn the best possible score,” she said.

For more information, call 936.294.4444, e-mail or visit the SAM Center, located in Academic Building IV Room 210.


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Olson Named One Of BYU’s ‘Distinguished’

James Olson, Texas State University System Regents’ Professor and distinguished professor of history, has earned another recognition; this time from his alma mater.

Olson, a 1967 graduate of Brigham Young University, was honored earlier this month with the BYU Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

Olson, who has written more books and won more awards than any faculty member in SHSU history, came to the university 1972.

Since then, he has also become one of the most decorated on campus, being the first professor to win all three of SHSU’s Faculty Excellence Awards (in teaching, research and service), winning the SHSU Alumni Association’s Service Award, and was named a Piper Professor by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation in 2006.

He became a “distinguished professor” of history in 1994 and last year was named a “Regents’ Professor” by the Texas State University System’s Board of Regents.

A two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, Olson has written more than 40 books on a variety of topics, including U.S. and world history, cancer, immigration, economics and even John Wayne.

He also earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the State University of New York, Stony Brook.

Olson was one of seven BYU alumni and friends honored with the recognition during the university’s homecoming activities.

There are currently 365,833 living graduates of Brigham Young University.


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English Prof Featured At Symposium

Paul Ruffin, Texas State University System Regents’ Professor and distinguished professor of English at SHSU, was recently a featured author at the 20th annual Eudora Welty Symposium.

This was Ruffin’s third time to be a featured author at the symposium, held at Mississippi University for Women Oct. 16-18, and read as part of the University of Mississippi’s Visiting Writers Series on Oct. 15.

“It’s always a grand occasion for me, since I get to read from my newest work—in this case my new book of stories, ‘Jesus in the Mist’—and sell a few books,” Ruffin said. “There are usually eight featured authors in attendance, so I get to meet people whose work I’ve read but with whom I’ve never actually shaken hands.”

This year’s keynote author was John Dufresne, whose novel “Requiem, Mass.” was recently a People magazine pick for “Book of the Week.” Dufresne teaches in the English department at Florida International University.

“The last time I was at the symposium, Fannie Flagg, best known perhaps for her ‘Fried Green Tomatoes,’ was top dog,” Ruffin said. “She came into town in a white limousine so long that they had to go out on the loop in Columbus to turn the thing around, or so the joke went.

“Fannie was pretty full of herself, unlike John, who was just as personable as he could be,” he said. “He mingled. Fannie just held court.”

In recent years, Ruffin has been a featured author at the Southern Book Festival (in Memphis and in Nashville), the Kentucky Book Fest (Bowling Green), the Binghamton College Visiting Writers Series (Binghamton, N.Y.), the Tennessee Williams Festival (New Orleans), the Summer Creative Writing Institute (University of Texas-Pan Am), and the Texas Book Festival (Austin).

He has also done readings and/or workshops on more than 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and in England.


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Hatton Talks Free Speech In Mexico

Debbi Hatton, associate professor in the communication studies department, recently discussed “Free Speech in the World Today” during the Americas Congress II in Mexico City.

The keynote address was presented in front of an audience of participants from more than 17 countries, Hatton said.

In her lecture, Hatton discussed the trend over the past several years to increase laws and policies that substantially reduce people’s rights to express themselves.

“On first glance most would assume I was talking about countries such as China or Russia; however, in the past five years the United States has passed more laws infringing on Constitutional rights than any other country in the world,” she said. “Some believe this is because people do not know or fully understand the First Amendment while others claim the laws are needed to protect from terrorists.

“Either way, most free expression scholars believe that the U.S. is on a slippery slope toward losing Constitutionally protected rights,” she said.

The effects of these actions could be felt around the world “because the U.S. is recognized as the leader of Democracy worldwide,” she said.

“Young and developing democracies look to the U.S. as a framework while other countries who shun democratic principles use the new policies to justify extending mistreatment of their own citizens,” Hatton said.

The three-day conference was co-sponsored by the United Nations, International Communication Association and the American Communication Association.

Hatton was invited to give the presentation because she is the editor of the American Communication Journal and chair-elect of the Freedom of Expression division of the National Communication Association, the world's largest communication association.

She has also served as an advocate for the association in Washington, D.C., for the past two years.


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Junior Fellows To Campaign With Louisiana Politician

In the closing days of the 2008 election, the Political Science Junior Fellows will travel to New Orleans, La., where they will join Sen. Mary Landrieu’s campaign for reelection.

Landrieu is engaged in one of the most competitive senate races in the south, facing Republican John Kennedy, the Louisiana State treasurer.

“There aren’t many competitive state-wide races in Texas, so this is a fantastic learning opportunity,” said junior fellows president Megan Bryant. “We’ll be involved in a tight race during the most intense period of the election season and, as political science majors, we are excited.”

The students will arrive in the “Big Easy” on Nov. 1, where they will work in “get-out-the-vote activities” such as making phone calls or block walking from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and “perhaps later,” according to fellow Amanda Carter.

They may also help during last-minute campaign rallies or media events.

“The organization is nonpartisan, but my job is to provide them with opportunities for experiential learning,” said adviser Mike Yawn. “The Landrieu campaign was the best opportunity for the students.”

After Election Day, students will sightsee in the area, touring the Windsor Fine Art Gallery—which contains works from Picasso, Rembrandt, Dali and Matisse—and the National World War II Museum, as well as stop by the state capitol in Baton Rouge, a building once referred to as the “monstrosity on the Mississippi” by Mark Twain.

In the three years since the Political Science Junior Fellows organization was founded, the members have led 63 field trips stretching across nine states and Washington, D.C., visiting six state capitols and five presidential libraries.

The New Orleans trip will be the fifth specifically designated as a campaign trip; they have also campaigned in Missouri and Arkansas.

“The trips have been very rewarding,” Bryant said. “We have maintained contacts. In fact, after Mike Beebe was elected governor of Arkansas, he actually invited us to meet with him at his office in the state capitol. He called us his ‘Texas Team.’”

The Political Science Junior Fellows was founded in 2005 to promote education, professionalism and public service.

Following their trip to Louisiana, the students will attend an election-debriefing seminar in Austin and will begin planning their road trip to see the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.


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Professors Discuss Spanish, Cuban Influence

Two foreign languages professors recently celebrated the Hispanic culture by sharing their knowledge with three presentations.

Frieda Koeninger, associate professor of Spanish discussed colonial leader Bernard Gávez during the Hispanic Heritage month celebration at the Institute of Hispanic Culture in Houston on Oct. 24.

The lecture was given upon the invitation of the Spanish Consul General, according to Debra Andrist, chair of the foreign languages department.

Gávez, one of Koeninger’s research interests, was the Spanish governor of Louisiana at the time of the American Revolution.

“He did much to help the American cause,” Koeninger said. “He facilitated supplies and funds up the Mississippi and the Ohio rivers to help the cause, for example, when Spain was neutral.”

Later, when Spain joined the revolution and declared war on England, Gávez helped secure the Mississippi river and helped oust the English from the gulf ports of Mobile and Pensacola.

“I was very pleased to be invited to talk about Bernardo de Gálvez because, although few Americans are aware of his contribution to the American War for independence, he was a key factor in that movement,” she said.

“Also Gálvez was a very wonderful person, he was a gracious diplomat, a person of great vision, a prudent and inspiring leader, very well beloved by his soldiers and by the people of Louisiana and later the people of Mexico, where he served as viceroy until his death at still a young age.”

Koeninger was also invited to serve as a facilitator at the Texas Foreign Language Association conference in Houston on Oct. 17.

In addition, Spanish professor Rafael Saumell-Muñoz was invited to present his just-released book at the prestigious III Feria Internacional del Libro Dallas (3rd International Dallas Book Festival), Andrist said.

During the festival, held Oct. 24-26, Muñoz discussed his “In Cuba Everybody is Singing,” which outlines his personal experiences as a political prisoner from 1981-1986 at four maximum security prisons.

The book, written in Spanish, also discusses the “many voices I heard during my prison ordeal: those from other political prisoners and common criminals” as well as historical events related to the Cuban regime, the former Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe, he said.


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For electronic access to SHSU news see the Communications Web page Today@Sam.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Oct. 31, 2008
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